Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education


The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education is a unique educational program designed to enhance leadership skills in gerontology. The program is based upon development of specific geriatric competencies across services sectors and with the diverse older adult population.  It is offered, with appropriate variation in course work, competencies, and field experience, for both Master’s and Bachelor’s students.

Application Deadline: February 15th (BASW) and May 1st (MSW)

Program Benefits

Training stipend varies by field site. Minimum is $4,000

Benefits for Hartford Fellows:

  • Rotation-based field experiences and greater access to aging-related programs to understand the breadth of services and the diversity of needs in the aging population.
  • Opportunities to learn from outstanding faculty and community leaders.
  • Contacts to and networking with leaders and organizations serving older adults in Western Pennsylvania.
  • Opportunities to attend local conferences and programs on aging and gerontology.
  • Student seminars and professional development experiences that give students the opportunity to learn from and with each other, as well as from their field instructors and outside experts.
  • MSW Fellows earn graduate Certificate in Gerontology
  • Paid tuition benefit for any additional required fieldwork (MSW first year students)

Field Placement Options     

Hartford field sites encompass current providers of services to older adults and their caregivers. Students will rotate through a continuum of settings that address the needs of well to frail older adults.

Examples of field sites include:

  • Veterans Administration
  • UPMC
  • Area Agency on Aging
  • Palliative care
  • Hospice
  • Inpatient and outpatient mental health services
  • Community-based agencies
  • Nursing homes

Program Learning Objectives

Participants will gain exposure and build skills in the following areas:

  • Aging services, programs, and policies
  • Values, ethics, theoretical perspectives
  • Assessment
  • Interventions for older adults and families
  • Communicating with older adults
  • Professional leadership skills
  • Professional presentation skills

Participation Commitments

Ongoing participation is critical to the success of this training program. Students are required to:

  • Complete the required number of hours of field work at designated Hartford agencies
  • Complete all paperwork, clearances, and trainings required by the field agency
  • Participate in all evaluations and reports for the Hartford Fellowship
  • Complete required coursework toward the Gerontology Certificate (MSW only)
  • Participation in the Ageless Wisdom aging sensitivity training program, including helping to present the program to MSW and BASW students
  • First-year MSW students must complete 120 additional hours of fieldwork
  • Each cohort is required to develop and implement a community-based/leadership project (see example projects at the bottom of the page).
  • Students are required to attend a monthly seminar (meeting) with their peers. Attendance at these seminars is mandatory and will count toward students’ total field practicum hours

Seminars may include interprofessional learning opportunities and cover topics such as:

  • Sex and the Senior Adult
  • Alzheimer’s and Art (hosted by the Carnegie Museum of Art or the Andy Warhol Museum)
  • Advancing telehealth technology serving older adults
  • Becoming a trauma-informed practitioner (hosted by the Center for Victims)
  • Professional development (in partnership with the Pittsburgh Foundation)
  • Attendance at the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging Annual Conference

(NOTE: topics and speakers will vary each year. This is a sample.)

Watch our April 13, 2022 seminar: “Serving Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders.” This seminar was a collaboration between the Hartford Fellowship, Coalition on Opioid and Addictions Leadership (COAL), and the Program Evaluation and Research unit (PERU) of the School of Pharmacy.

Required Classes

  • MSW Students must complete all required courses toward the Gerontology Certificate


Master’s Level:

  • Master’s level social work student in good academic standing, pursuing either Direct Practice or COSA.
  • Commitment to complete geriatric course work and a community-level project.
  • Willingness and ability to accept field experiences at partner agencies.

Bachelor’s Level:

  • Bachelor’s level social work student in good academic standing, applying junior year to complete the fellowship senior year.
  • Willingness and ability to accept field experiences at partner agencies.
  • Commitment to complete geriatric course work (if applicable) and a community-level project.

Application Requirements

  1. Updated resume
  2. Statement of interest
    1. In no more than 5 paragraphs, please discuss why you would like to participate in this fellowship experience.  What attracts you to this project? What strengths do you bring that can be engaged in this learning experience? What do you hope to gain from the experience?  How will it contribute to your achieving your career goals?
  3. Unofficial transcript
  4. Letter of recommendation (can be professional or academic).

Please email this link to your recommender (professional recommendation from a work or internship supervisor is suggested). Letter of Recommendation forms can be found here:

Selection Process

  • Number of positions: varies (2-4 BASW and 6-8 MSW)
  • Applicants will be interviewed by a selection committee composed of 2 Pitt SSW faculty members and 1 staff member as a social worker at a partner field site.
  • All applicants will be notified of their status (accepted, wait-listed, denied) by June 10th.
  • Final acceptance into the program is contingent on the student’s interview and acceptance at a designated Hartford field site.


BASW Timeline

Application Deadline:                                  February 15

Interview and Review:                                 Week of February 20th

Notification:                                                 March 5th

Candidate Acceptance Deadline:               March 31st 


MSW Timeline

Application Deadline:                                    May 1

Interview and Review:                                  May 1-31st

Notification:                                                    June 1

Candidate Acceptance Deadline:               June 15th

If there are unfilled positions, rolling applications will be accepted and reviewed:  June--August

Rolling application and wait list notification:  August 15th

Waitlist Policy

Once a student formally accepts a fellowship appointment, they will be removed from any other training program wait list. 

Contact Information

Fellowship Coordinator: Elizabeth Zimmerman-Clayton, MSW, LCSW

Email: ekz9@pitt.edu 

Phone: 412-624-1344


Previous Fellows' Projects